Is the wine good? Or is it helpful?

Wine sales reps are hooked on the “good” of wine.

“Isn’t that great?”

“What do you think? Do you like it?”

“Just delicious wine isn’t it?”

This is the all too common conversation after pouring a taste for the buyer. It’s based on the quality of the juice, trying hard to make it sound more delicious than the competition.

When pitching new wines to retailers and restaurants there is another route. A route that in the end is far more effective for many wines and categories.

The helpful wine.

A Pinot Noir that looks and tastes like Pinot Noir and will sell for $12 a bottle is a helpful wine.

A Chardonnay that for $9 a glass (at full profitability) delivers the aromas and flavors most consumers expect from Chardonnay is a helpful wine.

A good Riesling with some prominent residual sugar but good acidity is essential to most wine lists, so it’s a helpful wine.

Wine does not need to pass the ‘good’ test to sell, because everybody’s definition of ‘good’ is different. Maybe talk up the usefulness of the wine, and how it will help the business and the bottom line. Start there, and you may never need to ask “What do you think of it?”

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